Steering clear of car repair scams

Not all motor vehicle repairers are doing the right thing.
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02.Preventative car maintenance

  • Ask family, friends or work colleagues where they take their car to be serviced. If they’re happy with the level of care offered to them by a particular vehicle repairer, it’s highly likely you will be, too. It’s one of the corollaries of excellent service that a satisfied customer wants to spread the word.
  • Don’t be afraid to shop around either. Ask repairers to provide indicative pricing for regular work such as brake pad replacement and an hourly rate for labour. Comparing one repairer’s standard rates with another’s will help you make an informed decision.
  • Ask to be contacted before work is carried out. If any work needs to be done after the original written quote is provided – sometimes worn parts are revealed when vehicles are taken apart, for example. You can also expect to have your car back within a reasonable timeframe, so ask to be contacted if additional time is needed to effect the required repairs.
  • If you suspect your vehicle has a fault, try to explain what you think the cause of the fault is. If that means asking the mechanic to jump in the passenger seat to help identify the source of a rattle, so be it. If your vehicle is in need of a regular service, explain what service you think it requires. Your car’s logbook should outline whether it is due for a specific kilometre service or a general service. If you don’t have a logbook, ask the repairer to explain what is involved with each type of service and what kind of costs you might be up for. As a general rule, your vehicle should have a basic service (oil change, oil filter and safety check) every 5000km or six months, whichever comes first. 
  • Always ask for an itemised bill and ensure it shows the cost of parts and labour. If a worn part has been removed from the vehicle, it is your right to ask to see it. If the repairer can’t produce the part, you have grounds to suspect their integrity.
  • Knowing some of the basics of car mechanics will reduce your chances of being duped. If you’re told you’ll be getting a “reconditioned” part, this generally means good as new. Something that’s been “serviced or overhauled”, however, will have been repaired so as to make it serviceable. 
  • Common sense goes a long way when it comes to having your car, motorbike, 4WD or truck repaired or serviced, as with any other potentially expensive service purchased. But bear in mind a strong regulatory framework exists to protect the rights of all vehicle owners. 


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